Gingerly twisting the doorknob, you inch the closet door open and wait for an avalanche of shoes, scarves, and hats to spill out. It's easy to think a messy closet is inevitable in a small space. While we all might aspire to the palatial walk-ins of celebrities and reality stars, in reality, every inch of space is crucial, and organization is key.
This constant struggle is one of the many reasons we turned to organization and style expert Shira Gill for her advice on mastering the art of the minuscule closet. Not only did Gill offer up a handful of tricks for making the most of your tiny space, but she also went one step further and shared pictures of her actual closet.
"Use this time to relocate any random items that were accidentally left in your closet or could live elsewhere. (Common items to relocate include a bulky vacuum, extra bedding, diplomas, gift wrap, sentimental items, art or photos). Reserve this space for shoes, clothing, and accessories only."
"This is your opportunity to start fresh, so create a totally clean slate by removing everything from your closet. Really. Every. Single. Thing. You can use your bed for a staging area, or place a sheet on the floor so it's easy to lay everything out in preparation for editing and sorting."
"Do not underestimate the power of a good editing session. Too much clutter is the enemy of a well-organized space, so you'll want to review the entire contents of your closet, and do your best to keep only what you actually use, need, and love. As you edit, make sure to be realistic and consider both the size of your closet and your current lifestyle. Think through what's required for your typical week as well as what you need for workouts, hobbies, and special events."
"Since the contents of your closet will determine your style, this is also a good opportunity to become more intentional about how you present yourself each day. Just because something cost a lot, or looks amazing on someone else, doesn't mean that it is the right fit for you. Think of your closet as a well-curated boutique, and fill it only with items that you truly love that reflect your authentic style."
"In deciding how to set up and store things, consider how frequently you use them. Try to keep everyday essentials front and center for easy access, and formal, seasonal, and occasional items in the very back of the closet or on a high shelf. If you have an entry closet or another storage option, you can store bulky coats and seasonal items there. The easiest way to maximize storage in a tight space? Go vertical! It doesn't cost a lot to add a few shelves and can work wonders in maximizing a tiny closet."
"You can also create a streamlined look by using uniform hangers and arranging hanging items by type, style, and color. Velvet Huggable Hangers are a small closet's best friend because they maximize space and prevent slipping. Acrylic Shelf dividers work wonders to keep stacks of folded jeans or sweaters from toppling over."
Small Accessories: "Use pretty open bins or baskets to contain gloves, scarves, and accessories. Pick one style and color of bin to keep everything looking clean and streamlined."
Shoe Storage: "Display shoes on open shelving, shoe racks, or cubbies so you can see what you've got. Formal or occasional shoes can be stored and stacked in clear shoeboxes. Flip-flops, sandals, and sneakers work well in a round basket on the floor for easy access. If you're really stuck on space, an over-the-door canvas shoe holder can do the trick."
Handbags: "Handbags can be hung on sturdy hooks and clutches, and small evening bags can be stored in labeled bins or baskets. You can also use a shelf to line up handbags—Stuffing them and using acrylic dividers will help them keep their shape and keep them upright."
Hats: "Athletic hats are best stacked in an open bin or basket for easy access. Larger hats work well on hooks so they remain visible and easy to grab and go."
Jewelry: "Most closet systems have the option of purchasing a jewelry drawer organizer insert, which protects and organizes your jewelry at the same time. I personally like to display my jewelry like art—I use small hooks to hang necklaces and small pretty ceramic dishes for earrings, bracelets, and rings."